Italian PM Gets Mandate to Form Government

Center-left leader Romano Prodi got the nod to form Italy's new government on Tuesday, ending a monthlong political limbo that followed bitterly contested elections.

Prodi got the mandate from the newly installed president, Giorgio Napolitano, during a meeting at the presidential palace. He said he would get to work this evening to complete his Cabinet list, and that he hoped to form his government by Wednesday morning.

"We will act to form a balanced and solid government, able to deal with the country's political and economic problems," said Prodi.

CountryWatch: Italy

Once the president approves the lineup, Prodi becomes premier and will be quickly sworn in. He must then win a vote of confidence in both houses of parliament, a process expected to be concluded next week.

Prodi scored a narrow victory over Silvio Berlusconi's conservative forces in April 9-10 elections, among the closest in modern Italy. But a check of contested ballots and the need to elect a new president — who has the power to give the mandate — delayed the takeover.